Conserving imperiled species: a comparison of the IUCN Red List and U.S. Endangered Species Act

Harris, J. Berton C., Reid, J. Leighton, Scheffers, Brett R., Wanger, Thomas C., Sodhi, Navjot S., Fordham, Damien A., and Brook, Barry W. (2012) Conserving imperiled species: a comparison of the IUCN Red List and U.S. Endangered Species Act. Conservation Letters, 5 (1). pp. 64-72.

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The United States conserves imperiled species with the Endangered Species Act (ESA). No studies have evaluated the ESA's coverage of species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, which is an accepted standard for imperiled species classification. We assessed the ESA's coverage of IUCN-listed birds, mammals, amphibians, gastropods, crustaceans, and insects, and studied the listing histories of three bird species and Pacific salmonids in more detail. We found that 40.3% of IUCN-listed U.S. birds are not listed by the ESA, and most other groups are underrecognized by >80%. Species with higher IUCN threat levels are more frequently recognized by the ESA. Our avian case studies highlight differences in the objectives, constraints, and listing protocols of the two institutions, and the salmonids example shows an alternative situation where agencies were effective in evaluating and listing multiple (related) species. Vague definitions of endangered and threatened, an inadequate ESA budget, and the existence of the warranted but precluded category likely contribute to the classification gap we observed.

Item ID: 35742
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1755-263X
Keywords: Brachyramphus brevirostris, Dendroica cerulea, Endangered Species Act, extinction, IUCN Red List, Oceanodroma homochroa, national red list
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2014 16:47
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060299 Ecology not elsewhere classified @ 50%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069999 Biological Sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960899 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
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